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ANTHROPOMORPHICTOMBSBUILTOFBRICKINTHE

MEDIEVALCEMETERYOFSIBIU
Daniela Marcu Istrate*
Keywords: medieval cemetery, anthropomorphic tomb, tomb built of brick, Transilvania
germancolonists
Cuvinte cheie:cimitirmedieval,morminteantropomorfe,morminteconstruitedinc r mid ,
ni pentrucap,Transilvania,colonitigermani

Introduction
In 2005 the restoration of the historic center of Sibiu has created the
opportunitytocarryoutarchaeologicalworkonthemedievalcemeteryofthe
city.Thecemeterywasusedbetweenthemid-twelfthcenturytomid-sixteenth
century1 around the parish church Sfnta Maria/Saint Mary (an evangelic
church nowadays). The research had a partially character, focusing on
releasingtheareasonwhichtherewerepresumedsomearchitecturalactions.
Howeverwithintheboundsestablishedbythebuilders,therewereexcavated
importantpartsofthecemetery,especiallyonthesouthernsideofthechurch.
Approximatelyoneifthofthesitewasexcavated,1833funerarycomplexes
containingtheremainsof1874individualswererecovered.
The elaboration of the archaeological excavation results evidenced
threemainstagesofthecemeteryuse:theearlystagefromtwelfth-thirteenth
centuries,themiddlestagefromfourteenthtoifteenthcenturiesandtheinal
stagebelongingtotheirstpartofthesixteenthcentury.Eachofthesestages
is deined by certain objects, mainly by coins, ceramic and by the built up
structurespreservedasruinorstillinuse2.
The cemetery seems to have been established by the Saxon colonists
soon after their settlement on the high terrace of the Cibin river, probably
in the same time with the construction of the parish church. It is generally
Cercet torindependent,AsociaiaHieronimus,Braov,e-mail:damasus@yahoo.com.
The monography of archaeological research and the cemetery catalogue: Daniela Marcu
Istrate,Pia a Huet.Monograie arheologic,I-II,AlbaIulia,2007.
2
Ibidem,p.24-31.
*

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accepted that the systematically occupation of the south of Transylvania
happenedaroundtheyear11503.InthecemeteryfromSibiuthischronology
is asserted by four twelfth century coins discovered in connection with the
oldestgraves.
Thechurchyardwasclosedin1554:thecommunitydecidedtotransfer
the cemetery outside the city walls.4 In nineteenth century the churchyard
became public area, known as Huet Square. The coins recovered during
the archaeological ecavation also assert this chronology, the late issuance
belongingtothekingFerdinandI(1526-1564).
Withinthesechronologicallimits,thecommunityofthetownwasburied
almostexclusivelyinthiscemetery.Thestudyofapatternonthesouthernside
oftheparishchurch,inanareainwhichwewerecertainthatthecemeterywas
intact,indicatedadensityofmorethan8gravesofasquaremetre.(Fig.2)This
evaluationwasbasedonthepreservedskeletonsinananatomicalconnection,
in variable proportions. In order to better understand the agglomeration of
theparishcemeterywemustconsideralsothehugequantityofdisarticulated
bone that we could observe during the diggings. Because of this density it
was very dificult to realize the individual chronology of the graves and to
establishmorepreciselychronologicalgroups.
Theearlieststageofburialswasdeinedbyananalysisbaseduponthe
correlation between the burials.The separation was made starting from the
greatestdepthandobservinghowthegravescrossed.Foreachgroupwebuilt
aHarrismatrix.(Fig.4)Therewereveryfewreferencepoints:theritualwas
almostuniform,theinventorywasmodest(roundabout7%fromthegraves
containedinventoryobjects,fromwhichonly32graveshadlegiblecoins),the
stratigraphicparametersprovedtobenotthatrelevant.Initiallywepresumed
thatthecleanillingisthesymbolfortheearliestburials,butalongwerealized
that this relation is relative: several graves with such a iling contained
fourteenthtoifteenthcenturycoins.Oneofthemostimportantchronological
indicatorsconcerningthecemeterystudyprovedtobetheparticularshapeof
For a general image upon the German colonization phenomenon in east Europe: Harald
Roth,Kleine Geschichte Siebenbrgens,3.Aulage,Kln,2007,p.370-379,456-467.For
theTransylvaniangueststhemainpaperworkisThomasNgler,The Saxon settlement in
Transylvania,Bucharest,1979.
4
Insidethechurchburialsweredoneupin1796,andexceptionallyin1803.Sigerus,Chronik
der Stadt Hermannstadt, 1100-1929,Hermannstadt,1930(ed.inRomanianlanguageThe
annals of Sibiu (1100-1929),Sibiu,1997),p.51.

373
thegraveswithaheadniche:105wereregisteredassuchandother62were
assimilatedbyanalogy.
Bymeansofthesewedelimitedthegroupoftheoldestgraves,inwhich
weincludedonlythegraveswithaheadnicheandthosebeinginanyrelation
with these ones.The graves overlapped by the anthropomorphic pits, those
beingonthesamelevelorimmediatelyoverandhavingacommonindicator
(suchastheillingformedbythenaturalsubsoilorthepositionwiththearms
stretchedalongthebody)wereincludedhere.Weconsideredthatthisgroup
canbedatedfrommid-twelfthcenturytowardsthemiddleofthefollowing
centuryforthegraveswithobviousheadniche,respectivelytowardstheend
ofthirteenthcenturyforthewholegroup.
Overthisgrouptherehavebeendiscoveredsevengravesbuiltofbricks.
Theirdetailingrepresentstheobjectofthisstudy.(Fig.3)
Archaeological evidence
In the medieval cemetery of Sibiu there have been uncovered seven
gravesbuiltofbricks,onthesouthernsideoftheparishchurch,onitsclose
proximity. (Fig. 1) Two cists were entirely preserved, although they were
overlapped by several other graves (M 230, M 241). The other ones were
destroyed by the current church (respectively by the foundations of the
funerarychapelM1240,ofthetranseptM447,andofthesouthernaisle
M212),orpurelytheydisappearedalmostcompletelyduetootherburials(M
1167andM1243).Thenicheforthatmatterisdocumentedonlyintwocases,
fromtheothercistsremainingonlyfragments.(Fig.2)
Thecistshaveageneraltrapezoidalshape,madeofsixrowsofbricks
(the common sizes: 31x15-16x3/cm; 27x17x5,5 cm) bounded with thick
layersofyellowishmortar(limeandsand).Theinnersidewallswerelevelled
byathicklayerofpolishedcoating.Fortheheadithasbeenbuiltanicheof
bricks(overlapped(M230)orsidelonglaid-down(M241)),andmortar;as
wellundertheskullwasplacedabrick.(Fig.5-8) AtcistM212wecould
seethatthebottomofthepitwascoveredtoowithapooryellowishmortar
layer,inordertoavoidtolaydownthebodydirectlyontheground.Wedid
notidentifythecaseinwhichthebottomofthegravepithasbeenalsopaved
withbrick.(Fig.6)
Thegravesarebuiltupcarefully,inordertoprotectthedeceasedand
to provide him a privileged position in time of resurrection. The cautious
furnishingofthegraveexcludesthepossibilitythatoversuchaconstruction

374
shouldbepurelythrownclay.Wepresumethatthegraveswereinitiallycovered,
althoughthegreatdensityofthecemeterydidnotallowthepreservationofthe
upperpart.Thesimilarexamplesthatweknowrevealdifferentpossibilities
forthisroof:stoneblocks,abrickconstruction,butinthelongrunwecan
acceptalsoawoodroof5.Thedepthatwhichthegravesarelocatedpointsout
thattheywerecompletelyburied:whicheverthecoveringsystemmighthad
been,itwasnotconceivedtobeinsight.
Thecistsarewest-eastheaded,exceptM230andM1240whichseem
to have been slightly deviated towards north. According to their general
shape,theyweresetapartforadults.Theskeletonswerepreservedonlyin
two mentioned cases: the inhumations were extended and supine, the legs
parallelandthearmsstretchedalongthebody.ThegraveM241wasadouble
one,anadultandachild.(Fig.8)Though,duringthediggingweconsidered
thatprobablywedealwithamotherandachild,theanthropologicalanalysis
indicatedamale(agedbetween50and60years)andaninfans(8months)6.
Thegravesdidnothaveaninventory.
Chronological framing
The anthropomorphic pits shaped through diggings are frequent in
the medieval discoveries from the Saxon colonization area in the south of
Transylvania.SimilarcomplexesarecertiiedinAlbaIulia,Dr ueni,Feldioara,
Media,Mona,Or tie,Sebe(?)andinvariouslocationsfromSighioara7.
(Fig.11) TheyappearedaswellinSibiu,stillbeforeourresearchesfrom2005:
Besidethegeneralprotectionofthebody,aspecialprotectionfortheskullwasdocumented,
bycoveringthenichewithastoneblockorabiggerbrick.SeeMarcDurand,Archologie
du cimetire mdival, in Revue archologique de Picardie, Numro spcial 6, 1988, p.
161-163.
6
DanielaMarcuIstrate,MihaiConstantinescu,AndreiSoicaru,Cimitirul medieval din Sibiu.
Arheologie, antropologie, istorie (Medieval cemetery from Sibiu. Archaeology, anthropology,
history)inprep.2013.
7
Asynthesisconcerningthisproblem,withtheafferentbibliographyandthemappingofthe
discoveries:DanielaMarcu-Istrate,AngelIstrate,Morminte cu ni cefalic descoperite la
Alba Iulia (sec. XII-XIII). Contribu ii privind istoria oaspe ilor occidentali n Transilvania
(Graves with head niche in Alba Iulia. Contribution to the history of the hospites in
Transilvania),inRela ii interetnice n Transilvania (sec. VI-XIII), Bucureti,2005,p.236237.TheirstappearancesinTransylvaniawasinthemedievalcemeteryfromAlbaIulia:
R.R.Heitel,Principalele rezultate ale cercetrilor arheologice din zona sud-vestic a cet ii
de la Alba Iulia (1968-1977), I (The main archaeological research results from the southwest area of Alba Iulia citadel (1968-1977),inSCIVA,36,1985,3,p.228.

375
someofthemwerementionedatBisericaAzilului8(AsylumChurch),butalso
intheparishcemetery(HuetSquare)9.Anyhow,ifwelimitourselvestothe
2005 indings, we will afirm that in Sibiu was documented the most wide
groupofgraveswithaheadniche.
These tombs are usually located on the irst layers of the cemeteries.
Their chronology was based on documentary evidence and also on recent
archaeologicalindings.Inparticularweshouldmentionherethenumismatic
material, which contains coins from the second half of twelfth century and
fromthebeginningofthirteenthcentury10.Thelaterchronology,towardsthe
endofthirteenthcentury,wasproposedforthegravesfromBisericaAzilului
(AsylumChurch)ofSibiu11.
IntheparishcemeteryofSibiuweidentiiedfrequentoverlapsbetween
headnichegraves,theutmostrecordingbeingofsixgravesonthesouthernside
ofthechurch.Thisisaveryhighdensity,usuallytheintersectionsbeinglimited
totwo,atmostthreeoverlaps12.EvenifweadmitthatinthatperiodofMiddle
Agesthedisturbanceoftheboneswasnotsoimportantaslongastheywereand
theyremainedinconsecratedground,asuccessionofsixburialsrevealtheuse
ofanthropomorphicpitsforaperiodlongerthanpreviouslythought.
Itisdificulttoestimatewhichcouldbethedistanceintimebetween
twooverlappinggraves.Ifweconsiderthisdistancetobeattwodecades,the
Thegravesdepictionsuggeststheirafiliationtothisgroup:laid-downdirectlyinnarrow
gravepits,roundedatthewestside.Intheoldestlayerofburialaskeletonappearedwith
thehandsstretchedalongthebody,withtheskullonanupperlevelthanthebody,laid-down
inanarrowgravepit:PetreMunteanu-Beliu,Sibiu, jud. Sibiu. Biserica Azilului, Biserica
Evanghelic, str. Avram Iancu i Blnarilor, in CCA, Campania l996,Bucureti,1997.
9
P.Munteanu-Beliu,Sibiu, jud. Sibiu,inCCA, Campania l994, Cluj-Napoca,1995,p.81;
Idem,Cercetri de arheologie medieval n perimetrul oraului Sibiu efectuate n ultimul
deceniu,inArhMed,II,1998,p.87-102;idem,Practici funerare n evul mediu. Cercetri
arheologice i evaluri culturale,inIstorie i tradi ie n spa iul romnesc,IV,Bucureti,
1998, p. 81-82; idem, Considera ii asupra evolu iei structurilor arhitectonice n zona
central a oraului Sibiu,inHistoria Urbana,9,2001,1-2,p.71-78.
10
Adrian Ioni , Dan C p n , Nikolaus Boroffka, Rodica Boroffka, Adrian Popescu,
Feldioara-Marienburg. Contribu ii arheologice la istoria rii Brsei/Archologische
Beitrge zur Geschichte des Burzenlandes, Bucureti, 2004, p. 43-44 (Ioni et alii,
Feldioara 2004).
11
P.MunteanuBeliu,Practici funerare,p.85.IncentralEuropethesegravessurviveuntil
fourteenthcentury,theutmostspreadperiodbeingtwelfthcentury.M.Durand,Archologie
du cimetire mdival,p.164;Ioni etalii, Feldioara 2004,p.46-56.
12
InthiscontexttobeseentheFeldioarasituation.Ioni etalii,Feldioara 2004,p.46-56.

376
headnichedugintothegroundexceedthemiddleofthirteenthcentury:the
versionofthosemadeofbrickappearedaroundthischronologicalreference
point.(Fig.4)
For the brickgrave being in a certain relation with the church, the
acceptedchronologyforthisimportantbuildingprovidesusseveralantequem
dates13.M447isdisturbedbythetranseptfoundation,sotheburialwasprior
tomid-fourteenthcentury.(Fig.9) M212wasdisturbedbyoneofthesouthern
navebuttresses(Fig.6) andM1240bythefoundationofthefunerarychapel
on the southern side of the choir: both compartments were already used in
theirstdecadesoffourteenthcentury.Basedontheserelationsispointedout
thefactthatthebrickgravesbelongedtotheirstparishchurch,abasilicaof
whichruinsexistintheinsideofthecurrentchurch.Thisassignmentleads
aswelltowardsadatingalongthirteenthcentury,whichcouldbeextended
upmosttothebeginningoffourteenthcentury.
Conclusions
Thegraveswithheadnichesareinvariablyboundbytheirsthospites
settled in Transylvania, in an organized way after mid-twelfth century.
However,asitresultedalsofromtheSibiuparishcemeterystudy,thesegraves
donotcharacterizeexclusivelytheirstcolonists.Therecentarchaeological
researchespointedoutthattheywereusinginthesametimeandonthesame
cemeteryarea,bothanthropomorphicandsimple,rectangulargravepit.We
stillcannotindananswer,whyandforwhichreasonsomepeoplepreferred
aspecialgravepit,withaheadniche14.Therehavebeenapproacheddifferent
hypothesisconcerningthefamilyorthesocialfactorofthedeceased.Most
expertsagreedthesimplestexplanation:theheadnicheixtheskull,sothe
deceasedwillseeamongtheirstthetimeofresurrection15.
Towhommightthegravesbuiltofbricksbelongto?
In the thirteenth century, in Sibiu, using bricks for constructions was
notcommon.Allbuildingsintheareaweremadeofstone:theboundarywall,
thechapelsthatwecanassigntotheperiod(theSaintJacobfunerarychapel
attheLiarsBridge,respectivelytheeastsiderotonda),mostlikelytheparish
churchtoo.Evenfortheparishchurchextensionbybuildingneweasternsides
D.MarcuIstrate,Pia a Huet, I,p.52-55.
D.Marcu-Istrate,A.Istrate,Morminte cu ni cefalic,2005;P.MunteanuBeliu,Practici
funerare,1998.
15
M.Durand,Archologie du cimetire mdival,p.192.

13
14

377
(choirandtransept),intheirstpartofthefourteenthcenturyithasbeenused
masonrystone.Hardlyatthebeginningofthefollowingcenturywerecordthat
thecraftsmenshopproducedbrick:reallyrarefragmentshavebeenrecorded
onthesouthernnavefoundations.Instead,towardsthemiddleofthecentury
forthechurchextendedchoirithasbeenmainlyusedbrick.
From this point of view too, the graves built of bricks seem to be an
extraordinaryfact:thosewhohavewantedsuchagravehadacleardeined
project, which did not have in sight the simple protection of a body, but
expresslyasomekindofconstruction.
Ifwesearchforanalogies,wewillindoutthatthebricktombsarearare
formofanthropomorphicgraves.PriortoSibiuresearches,thesewereknown
in Transylvania only from the cemetery of the Roman-Catholic cathedral
fromAlba Iulia, where they have been dated in 12th-13th centuries, based
oninventory(circularbucklesandcoins,thelateonesfromthekingAndrew
II(1205-1235))andonstratigraphiccontext16.DevelopedinsidetheRoman
castrum, the medieval habitation from Alba Iulia was plentiful provided
withancientconstructionmaterialsandimplicitlywithbricks.However,the
anthropomorphiccistsseemaswellasanextraordinaryachievement,notonly
aburialbyusingareadyathandmaterial.Thislatterversionmaterializesin
improvisationssuchasgravepitborderingbyseveralstonesorbrickfragments,
thelaid-downbricksonthebottomofthegravepit,demarcationoftheshape
byseveralbrickslaidonthecant.Incontrasttotheseimprovisations,thebrick
cistsareconceivedassarcophagi,entirelyclosed.Theconstructionmethod
showsaspecialcarefortheaspect:uniformmasonrywithequalmortarlayers,
plasteredwalls,stoneblocksroofandsometimesasecondrooffortheniche.
The authors of the diggings observed the fact that in Alba Iulia the
head niche cists actually close the cemetery of the irst cathedral, from the
twelfth-thirteenth centuries. After the cists, there followed here and there
burialsuntiltheseventeenthcentury,withoutgettingtoacomparabledensity
withthemedievalperiod.ThemedievalcemeterybelongedtoanHungarian
16

D.Marcu-Istrate,A.Istrate,Morminte cu ni cefalic,2005.D.MarcuIstrate,Catedrala
romano-catolic Sfntul Mihail i palatul episcopal din Alba Iulia. Cercetri arheologice
2000-2002 (The roman catholic St. Michel cathedral and the bishops palace of Alba Iulia.
The 2000-2002 archaeological research),AlbaIulia,2008-2009;R.R.Heitel,Principalele
rezultate,I,p.228;Idem,Principalele rezultate ale cercetrilor arheologice din zona sudvestic a cet ii de la Alba Iulia (1968-1977) (The main archaeological research results from
the south-west area of Alba Iulia citadel (1968-1977),II,inSCIVA,36,3,1986,p.244.

378
communitythatusedonlyaccidentallytheheadnichepits.Thiskindofgrave
was assigned to a group that has been earthed only temporary around the
cathedral,probablyconcerningtheediicationofthecurrentchurch,factthat
began somewhere before 1200 and evolved not so fast along the thirteenth
century17.
Weneedaswelltopointoutthefactthatthiskindofgraveisnotknown
inotherSaxoncemeteriesoftheperiod.Somebrickcistsweresignalledat
Cric u18andSebe19,withan(indirectly)datinginthirteenthcentury,though
withoutresultingthattheywereprovidedwithheadniches.Othertwocistsare
mentionedatSibiu,ontheparishchurchinside,butitisnotcleariftheybelong
totheearlieststageofburialsortotheModernAges20.Extendedresearchesin
thefunerarysitesfromDr ueni,Sighioara,MonaorBraov,thatrevealed
hundredsofgraves,hadrecordedgravepitswiththenicheduginclay,butnot
brickbuiltversionstoo.
OntheterritoryofTransylvania,theonlygravegroupcomparablewith
that of Sibiu andAlba Iulia was signalled in the monastically environment
atBizerenearArad.(Fig.11)Thearchaeologicalresearcherevealedseveral
graves built of bricks, having a rectangular shape, some (?) of them being
providedwhitheadniches21.M111,theonlypublishedsofar,hasbeenlaid
onabrickcist,withaspecialheadsupport,whichcouldbeassimilatedwitha
niche:alargebrickinwhichalittleplacewassetapartfortheskullixation.
Related to other graves with niches built of bricks, we do not know other
construction details. The inventory was absent, but concerning the general
D.MarcuIstrate,A.Istrate,Morminte cu ni cefalic,2005.
RaduR.Heitel,AlexandruBogdan,Contribu ii la arheologia monumentelor transilvane.
I. Principalele rezultate ale cercetrilor arheologice efectuate n complexul medieval din
Cricu (jud. Alba) (Contributions to the acrhaeology of the Transylvanian monuments. I.
The main archaeological reasearches performed during the medieval complex of Cricu
(Alba county),inApulum,VII,1968,p.487-488.
19
R.R. Heitel, Monumentele medievale de la Sebe Alba (The medieval monuments from
Sebe Alba),ed.II,Bucureti,1969,p.6-7.
20
P. Munteanu Beliu, Practici funerare, 1998, p. 95. The depiction of the stratigraphical
context encourages an early chronology, the cists being placed between the graveswith
pits dug in human body shape and the graves with modern cofins. D. Marcu Istrate,
Pia a Huet,2007,p.89.
21
AdrianAndrei Rusu, Ileana Burnichioiu (ed.), Mnstirea Bizere (Bizere Monastery), 1,
ClujNapoca,2011,p.66-70.Thegravesappearinapartialpublication,onlyonebeing
indetailpublishedsofar,relatedwithafunerarychapel.Thenumberofthecistsisnot
speciied,inanycaseitisaboutatleasttwocists(p.68,note15).
17

18

379
contextofthediscovery,whichincludesarichenoughnumismaticmaterial,
theauthorsproposedadatingtowardsthemid-thirteenthcenturyortowards
thenextdecades22.Thankstothefactthatitseemstohavehadaprivileged
positioninthecemetery,theauthorsconsiderthatthegravewasarrangedfor
aspecialcharacter,whichhadtobedistinguishedamongtheinhabitants.
OntheHungarianKingdomterritorythebrickcistsappearedtowards
theendofeleventhcenturyandsurviveduntiltheendoffourteenthcentury:
fromaquantitativepointofviewmostofthesamplesweredatedinthesecond
partofthisperiod23.Thebuiltgravewasdiscoveredmainlyinmonastically
environment,beingconsideratetohavebeenabyzantinetradition.Usuallyit
hasbeenrecordedasimplerectangularconstruction:theheadnicheappears
onlyisolated,inabout2%ofthecases.Oneofthebestanalogiesderivesfrom
the monastery cemetery of Domb (Rakovac): the anthropomorphic graves
builtofbricksandprotectedbyariggedroofmadealsoofbricks,weredated
intwelfthcentury.24
At the current research stage, the cists from Sibiu represent a single
apparition in a parish cemetery of the German hospites. (Fig. 11) The
arrangement of the head niche convinced us to assimilate them with the
anthropomorphic grave of the irst colonist generations. But, if we expand
theanalysis,itseemsthatthethingswillnotbenecessaryinthisway.The
brickcistsareobviouslyanexceptionalfunerarypatentaroundtheyear1200,
which we ind in Transylvania in very important religious centres: inAlba
Iulia, around the cathedral of the Catholic Episcopacy and in Sibiu, where
functionedthefreeProvostshipoftheSaxons.TheBenedictinemonasteryof
Ibidem,p.67.
Pap Ildik Katalin, Tgls s tglakeretes temetkezsek (Grber mit Ziegeln und
Ziegelrahmen in der sdstlichen Tiefebene), in Communicationes Archaeologicae
Hungariae, 2002, p. 177-190; TrkAttila, rpd-kori templom krli temet feltrsa
Szentes-Kajn, Temethalmon, in ...a hall rnyknak vlgyben jrok. A kzpkori
templom krli temetk kutatsa, szerk. Ritok gnes, Simonyi Erika, Budapest, 2005,
p.213-219;Ritokgnes,A templom krli temetk kutatsa (Research into cemeteries
from the early rpdian age),inA kzpkori s a kora jkor rgszete Magyarorszgon
(Research of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period in Hungary),Budapest,2010,
p.473-494.
24
Neboisa Stanojev, A dombi (Rakovac) Szent Gyrgy-monostor szentlyrekeszti, in A
kzpkori Dl-Alfld s Szer,szerk.KollrTibor,Szeged,2000,p.394;N.Stanojev,Les
spultures dans les ncropoles autour des glises (en Vovodine),in...a hall rnyknak
vlgyben jrok. A kzpkori templom krli temetk kutatsa,szerk.Ritok.,Simonyi
E.,OH,VI,Budapest,2005,p.60-69..

22
23

380
Bizereispresumedtobeaswellavaluableendowment,maybeevenaroyal
foundation25.Therefore, seems more plausible that those buried in this way
were generally of religious status, perhaps some clerics that in a particular
historicalperiodhavebeenlinkedtoanimportantreligiousinstitution.The
cistsfromAlbaIuliaaredatedwiththehelpoftheinventoryandthecontext,
thosefromSibiuonacontextbasisandthosefromBizerearedatedthanksto
theanalogiesfromotherterritoriesbelongingtotheHungariankingdom:the
discoverycontextorthelogicoftheauthorsledtoaperiodwhichstartswith
thesecondhalfoftwelfthcenturyandendsupwithmid-thirteenthcentury,
with a maximal extension towards 1300. After this, the anthropomorphic
tombsdisappearfromTransylvania.
The graves catalogue
M212/S2
Grave pit shape: trapezoidal shape cist, built of bricks bounded by
mortar(twobrickrowswiththedimensions26x16x4cm).Theinteriorhas
beengrouted,thebottomofthegravebeingcoveredwithacoarseyellowish
mortar.
Grave pit illing: blended illing, mellowed with mortar and ceramic
pigments,stoneandbrickfragments.
Age:adult
Preservation condition:good.
Disturbances:thegravehasbeendamagedbythebuttressfoundationof
thesouthernsideofthenave.
Orientation:W-E.
Depth:-1.40mtheupperlayeroftheconservedbricks,-1.58mthe
bottomofthegravepit.
Position:supinewiththelegsparallel.
Stratigraphic correlations:priorthecurrentchurch.
M230/S1
Grave pit shape:trapezoidalshapecist,builtofbricks(31x16x3cm),
groutedoninside;6bricklayers.Fortheheadsupportithasbeenbuiltaniche
madeofoverlappedbricksandmortar.
25

A.A.Rusu,I.Burnichioiu(ed.),op.cit., p.16-17.

381
Grave pit illing:blacksoilwithmortarandceramicpigment.
Age:adult
Preservation condition:good.
Disturbances:varied.Fromthesouthernsideofthecisttherehadbeen
dislocatedivebrickslayersandfromtheeasternsidefourlayers.Aroundthe
skullithasbeenpreservedonlyonebrickrow,theotheronesbeingdisturbed
sinceantiquity;severalbrickswereontheinsideoftheilling.Thesouth-east
constructioncornerdisappearedentirely.Although,therehadbeenpracticeda
lotofburialsoverthecist,theskeletonpreserveditselfalmostintact,onlythe
skullbeingdislocated(onlythejawwaspreserved).
Orientation:W-E.
Depth:-1.00monthebottomofthecist;-0.78-0.96montheupper
layerofbricks.
Position: supine, the hands along the body with the ingers outside
the femur; the legs are parallel. The skull was supported by a brick which
remainedinsitu.
Stratigraphic correlations:posteriorofM355thatintersectaroundthe
pelvis,posteriorofM242.Overlappedbyotherseveralburials.
M241/S2
Grave pit shape: trapezoidal shape cist built up of six brick layers
(31x15x5cmand27x17x5.5cm).Thelimeandsandfriablemortarhasbeen
usedinthicklayers(roundabout2cm).Fortheheadsupportithasbeenused
bricks,sidelongpositionedwithalotofmortar.Thecistwallsseemtohave
beenpreservedentirely(withaslightdisturbanceonthesouth-eastcorner),
thesuperiorpartbeingequalizedwithathickmortarlayer:wepresumedthat
this mortar was used for ixing the roof. On the bottom of the cist, on the
eastern side there have been preserved the traces of a thin layer of mortar,
probablyaccidentallydepositedduringtheconstruction.Theskeletonswere
laid-downdirectlyontheground.
Grave pit illing:blacksoil,relativelytamped,pigmented.
Age:adult(50-60)andinfans(8months)
Preservation condition:good.
Disturbances:ithasbeenoverlappedbyseveralgravesthatprobablyhave
dislocatedtheroof.Bothconstructionandthetwoskeletonsremainedintact.
Orientation:W-E.
Depth:-1.90monthegravepitbottom;-1.50mthesuperiorlimitof
thepreservedbricks.

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Position:Theadultskeletonhasbeenlaid-downonthebackwiththearms
stretchedalongsidethebody,theleftoneslightlyaway,withtheingersoutside
thepelvis.Theskullremainedbythenicheborder,inalmostverticalposition.
Thelegsareparallel;therightfootpresentsadeformation,thefemurbeingbent.
Betweentheadultlegsithasbeenfoundachild,aswellsupinewiththearms
alongsidedebodyandthelegsslightlybentstartingwiththeknees.
11. Stratigraphic correlations:thecistwasoverlaiddirectlybyM233,
M234,M235,whichpartiallydisturbedit.Afterwards,thesegraveswereas
welloverlappedbyseveralothers.M216withastoneheadnichewasolder.
M447/S3
Grave pit shape:brickcist(brickswiththedimensionsof34x14.2x4cm).
Age:probablyadult.
Preservation condition:therewerenotpreservedbones.
Disturbances:thecistwasoverlaidbythebuttressfoundationofsoutheast transept and probably affected by other area burials. In the excavation
remainedonlyasmallfragment.
Orientation:W-E.
Depth:-1.35-1.55monthesuperiorsideofthepreservedbricks.
Stratigraphic correlations:wasburiedafterM345whichaswellseems
tobeearthedafterM344.
M1167/C48
Grave pit shape: partially preserved cist. Half of the eastern side,
westernsideandthebigpartofnorthernsideweredamagedbyotherburials.
Theinsidegroutedwallsofthecistweremadeofatleastthreebrickrows.
The mortar used is yellowish with a lot of small stones. (The used bricks:
24x5,5x4,5cm).
Orientation:W-E.
Depth:onthesouthsideofthepreservedbricksat1.48-1.60m.The
bottomoftheinitialgraveprobablyaround1.60m.
Observations:theskeletonfromthecistdidnotpreserved.Agravewith
awoodencofinoccupiedthereafterthecist,beingburiedatahigherdepth
fromthecistbottom(M1162).

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M1240/S5
Grave pit shape:cistfragment,probablytheshortwestside.Thecist
wallisformedofiverowsofbrickboundedbyyellowishmortarwithalot
oflimegrains.
Observations:destroyedpartiallybythebuttressofthefunerarychapel,
whichoverlaysitandpartiallybyarecentdigging.
M1243/C36
The grave shape:cistfragment,probablythenorthernside,preserved
onalengthofabout60cm.Itcanbeobservedfourrowsofbricksboundedby
yellowishmortar.(Thebrick:36x16x4,5cm).
Disturbances:theeasternsideofthecistisdisturbedbytheafterwards
burialsandthewesternsideisdestroyedbyapluvialwaterpipe.
Orientation:W-E.
Depth:-1.32m/bricks.
Observations:onthefrontinteriorsideofthepreservedsectionitcanbe
observedtracesofgrout.
MORMINTEANTROPOMORFECONSTRUITEDINC R MID N
CIMITIRUL MEDIEVAL DIN SIBIU
Rezumat
RestaurareacentruluiistoricalorauluiSibiunanul2005aprilejuitefectuareaunor
amplecercet riarheologicencimitirulmedieval,dezvoltatnjurulbisericiiparohialeSfnta
Maria(ast zibiseric evanghelic )ntremijloculsecoluluialXII-leaimijloculsecoluluial
XVI-lea.Cercetareaaavutuncaracterparial,concentrndu-sepedegajareaunorsuprafee
pecareerauprev zuteinterveniiconstructiveprofunde.nlimitelestabilitedeconstructori,
aufosttotuicercetatectevasegmenteimportantealecimitirului,maialespeparteasudic
abisericii:amapreciatc cercetareaasurprinsaproximativocincimedintotalulcimitirului
medieval.Aufostnregistrate1833decomplexefunerare,careaucorespunsunuitotalde
1874deindivizi.
ncimitiraufostdescoperiteaptemorminteconstruitedinc r mid ,prev zutecuni
pentrucap,localizatepeparteadesudabisericiiparohiale,nimediataapropiereaacesteia.
Mormintele au o form general trapezoidal , construit din c r mid i mortar. Pentru
susinereacapuluiafostprev zut oni ,construit deasemeneadinzid riedec r mid ,iar
subcraniuafostaezat oalt c r mid .Uneori,subscheletaufostobservateurmedelaunstrat
subiredemortar.Deimorminteleaufostdescoperitedeschise,ampresupusc iniialacestea

384
erauprev zutecuacoperi.Indiferentcumvaifostsistemuldeacoperire,morminteletrebuie
s ifostns completngropatenp mnt.
Scheleteles-aup stratdoarndou cazuri:decedaiiaufostntinipespate,cubraele
pelng corp.M241afostdublu,unadultiuncopil.Mormintelelipsitedeinventarau
fostdatate,pebazacontextuluidescoperirii,nceade-adouajum tateasec.XIIIcuposibile
extensiilanceputulsecoluluiurm tor.
MorminteledelaSibiureprezint ,nstadiulactualalcercet rilor,oapariiesingular
ntr-uncimitirparohialaloaspeilorgermani.Deiamenajareanieipentrucapneconvinge
s asimil m aceste ciste cu gropile antropomorfe i s le atribuim primelor generaii de
coloniti,dac extindemanalizaseparec lucrurilenustaunmodobligatoriuastfel.Cistele
dinc r mid constituieevidentomanifestarefunerar deexcepiedinjurulanului1200,pe
carenTransilvaniaontlnimncentrereligioasefoarteimportante,precumAlbaIuliai
Sibiu,saunmediulmonasticdelaBizere,lng Arad.nconsecin ,paremaiplauzibilca
mormintelediscutates aparin unorclericicare,ntr-oanumit perioad istoric ,aufost
ataai unei instituii religioase de un anumit rang. Cistele de laAlba Iulia sunt datate cu
ajutorulinventaruluiialcontextului,celedelaSibiupebazacontextului,iarceledelaBizere
maimultpebazaanalogiilordinalteteritoriialeregatuluimaghiar:contextuldescopeririisau
logicaautoriloraconduslaunintervalcencepenadouajum tateasecoluluialXII-leai
sencheielamijloculsecoluluiurm tor,cumaximeextensiipn njurulanului1300.Dup
aceast dat ,cisteleantropomorfedispardinTransilvania.

385

Fig. 1.Generalplan:theparishchurch(XIV-XVIcenturies)andthegraves
builtofbricksdiscoveredin2005

Fig. 2.Generalplanofthecemeteryintheareainwhichtherewere
discoveredthebrickgraves

386

Fig. 3.Maincharacteristicsoftheanthropomorphicbrickcist.1b.Trapezoid
pit.1d.Pitwithanundeterminedshape.2a.Headniche.2e.Brickcist.3b.
Fillingwithrarepigments.4c.adult.6b.Disturbedbylaterinterventions.7a.
W-Eorientation.9a.Supineposition.10a.Armsstretchedalongtothebody.
11c.Parallelspreadlegs.

Fig. 4.EvolutionofthegravesinM230area

387

Fig. 5.Grave230:researchstages,inalplanandsectionthroughthegrave

388

Fig. 6.Graves212and241:thediscoverycontext

Fig. 7.Grave241:thediscoverycontext

389

Fig. 8.Grave241:researchstages,generalplanofthegraveandthebrick
nichedetail

390

Fig. 9.Grave447,destroyedbythetranseptfoundation

Fig. 10.Gravecist1167,reusedforthe1162skeletoninterment.

391

Fig. 11.AnthropomorphicgravesfromTransylvania